First Look

First Look summarizes new working papers, case studies, and publications produced by Harvard Business School faculty. Readers receive early knowledge of cutting-edge ideas before they enter the mainstream of business practice. For complete details on faculty research, see our Working Papers section.

April 9

A Blue Cross approach to managing health care costs

In an effort to better manage escalating health care costs, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts offers providers an innovative program called Alternative Quality Contract. The program allows doctors to receive a fixed-dollar budget to cover all care delivered to specific patient populations. Does it work? A new case, "Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization," looks at the system from the physicians' point of view and asks students to assess one medical group's experiences. The case was written by Richard Bohmer and Natalie Kindred.

A venture capitalist writes a case

Jeffrey J. Bussgang, a general partner at Flybridge Capital Partners and senior lecturer at Harvard Business School, has evaluated many business opportunities, knowledge he puts to work in a new case. Bussgang looks at the options for the young CEO of Plastiq, who must develop a go-to-market strategy. "Should he develop partnerships with channels that would provide leverage or build out a direct sales force?" the case asks. Also on the early to-do list: hire a key sales executive. "Plastiq" was coauthored by Bussgang, Jeffrey J., Gaurav Jain, Liroy Haddad, Luke Langford, and Matt Noble.

What to do in the interim?

Sometimes business conditions change, like when a recession hits. The business owner must decide whether and when she thinks conditions will improve, and what to do until then. A new case by Willy Shih, Margaret Pierson, and Dawn Lau looks at the short-term dilemma faced by shipmaker Austal. In January 2009, as the global economic crisis dried up its order book, the company wants to preserve the capabilities in its Australian workforce but the facilities are underutilized. "Was this a short-term problem, or had the commercial market changed forever?" Download the case, "Austal, Ltd."

 

Cases & Course Materials

  • Harvard Business School Case 612-016

Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization

This case focuses on the Alternative Quality Contract (AQC), a novel payment program designed to incentivize providers to deliver less costly, high quality health care. Under the AQC, offered by Blue Cross Blue Shield of Massachusetts, providers received a fixed-dollar budget to cover all care provided to a specific patient population, as well as incentive payments for quality. The AQC was piloted in 2009 by a handful of provider organizations, including a group of physicians belonging to the Lowell General Physician Hospital Organization (LGPHO). The case describes the LGPHO physicians' experience during their first two years under the AQC, allowing students to assess the group's performance as well as potential challenges in the remaining three years of the contract and future contracts and the AQC's value as part of the solution to untenably high U.S. health care costs.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/612016-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 113-088

Apple Inc. and the iPhone 4 Antenna Issue

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/113088-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 813-125

Plastiq

The young CEO of a venture-backed startup needs to figure out his go to market strategy and the right profile for his first key sales hires. Should he develop partnerships with channels that would provide leverage or build out a direct sales force? And should the sales team be led by an experienced senior sales executive or a scrappy, mid-level sales manager?

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/813125-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 813-148

Glynn Roberts: February 2003

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/813148-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 813-153

Oliver Mizne: January 2009

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/813153-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 813-144

Tate Elliott: August 2012

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/813144-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 113-045

The Private Company Council

Financial Accounting Foundation chairman Jack Brennan is under pressure from private-company interests to set up a new body-the Private Company Council-to determine separate GAAP for private companies. PCC advocates-including the U.S. Chamber of Commerce-argue that traditional U.S. GAAP has too many disclosure and fair-value requirements that impose very high compliance costs on private companies. But there are influential players-including the Big Four auditors-who oppose creating the PCC. They argue that the compliance costs of traditional GAAP are the price of high-quality accounting standards. Balancing these powerful interests, Brennan must make a decision on the PCC; at stake is U.S. GAAP's ability to facilitate capital allocation decisions in the economy.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/113045-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 713-478

LEGO (A): The Crisis

As this case opens, iconic toymaker LEGO stands on the brink of bankruptcy. Jørgen Vig Knudstorp, LEGO's young and newly appointed CEO, must size up changes in the toy industry, learn from the company's recent moves, and craft a strategy that will put LEGO back on track.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/713478-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 613-025

Austal, Ltd. (A)

Austal, Ltd. was an Australian builder of high-speed passenger ferries. It had translated that expertise into a foothold in the defense market on the U.S. Navy Littoral Combat Ship (LCS) program with an Alabama assembly facility. In January 2009 it had just completed the construction of its first LCS, but the global economic crisis put the company in a difficult position. Its commercial order book had dried up, yet it needed to preserve capabilities in its Australian workforce in now underutilized facilities near where its design capabilities were centered. Was this a short-term problem, or had the commercial market changed forever? The (A) case examines possibilities that company might pursue to bridge the presumed gap until market conditions improve and the (B) case recounts some of those choices. The case focuses on the question of the importance in Austal's maintaining manufacturing close to its design center and how it will do this as its center of gravity increasingly shifts to other regions?

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/613025-PDF-ENG

  • Harvard Business School Case 713-473

Borrowing Institutions

No abstract available.

Purchase this case:
http://hbr.org/search/713473-PDF-ENG